Zoning realignment meetings may help shape the future of downtown WF

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - To boost the continued growth of downtown Wichita Falls, city leaders are hoping to make some zoning changes to how the land is used.

Monday’s zoning realignment meeting focused on the River Development District and it was part one of four different sessions that will be held over the next two weeks. All will focus on the realignment of the four zoning districts in downtown.

Business owners in attendance said depending on what is done, it could be good for business.

“They want us to revitalize this whole area, which is a good thing. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve seen downtown in its hay day,” Ben Valadez, a property owner in downtown Wichita Falls, said.

Valadez was one of the many property and business owners who were joined by staff from Wichita Falls Downtown Development who came to the city’s zoning realignment meeting. All were there to learn more and offer feedback on the four zoning districts.

“This is actually a part of the implementation of the strategic plan that was adopted by the city council in September of 2018,” Karen Montgomery-Gagne, City of Wichita Falls planning administrator, said. “These are direct strategies outlined in the downtown diagnostics reports.”

Montgomery-Gagne said while parts of downtown Wichita Falls zones have been realigned, most have not since the 1980s. If you go downtown today, you can see the times have changed, but most of the buildings not so much.

“If they are lenient enough and flexible enough, you might see both sides come out of it in the long run in a good way,” Valadez said.

“We really want to focus on the River Development District with our fantastic city linear trail system,” Montgomery-Gagne said. “Continue to enhance that, look at the Central Business District, the core of the business in our downtown so that is enhanced and uses fit together. We’re even looking at mixed options where you might have multi-family residential and upper stories mixed with offices and maybe ground floor commercial.”

Valadez said he still has hopes for downtown and has plans of remodeling his property by turning it into office and retail space.

“There’s something special about downtown and me growing up here seeing it and I’d like to see it lit up again,” Valadez said.

Zoning meetings happen at the Wichita Falls Public Library and are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, March 31 - 6 p.m. for the Central Business District
  • Tuesday, April 5 - 6 p.m. for the Light Industrial - Downtown District
  • Wednesday, April 6 - 6 p.m. for the General Commercial - Downtown District

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